After what feels like 29 painfully long days, the Bundesliga roars back into action this weekend for the start of the second half of the season.
Known as the Ruckrunde, the final 17 matchdays in the German top flight are
defining ones that ultimately shape the outcome of the table come the end of the campaign. And Matchday 18’s resumption has some cracking fixtures for us to sink our teeth into as we turn the mid-season corner.
Bundesliga matchday-18 started at the Veltins Arena on Friday January 17 where the home side Schalke defeated Borussia Monchenglabach 2-0.
Michael Gregoritsch set up Suat Serdar to score the opener for the David Wagner’s men in the 48th minute before he scored the second 10 minutes later, with an assist from Benito Raman.
With the defeat, Monchengladbach have been slowed down in their second spot behind Leipzig.
One of the most interesting matchups comes from the capital where Hertha Berlin welcome reigning champions FC Bayern Munich to the Olympiastadion for
Sunday’s penultimate game of the weekend (kick-off: 15:30).
Things are made fascinating by the presence of former FC Bayern player and coach Jurgen Klinsmann who claimed league glory in the red of the record Bundesliga champions as a world-class striker in his playing days back in 1996/97. He later returned as coach from July 2008 to April 2009 following a two-year spell as
Klinsmann’s new side have gone four games unbeaten under the former Germany
World Cup winner and have even made it three consecutive games without
conceding a goal.
Meanwhile, his old outfit – now under the stewardship of Hansi Flick until at least the end of the season – sit third in the table. FC Bayern are currently on a three-match winning streak and, if results go their way elsewhere, could end the matchday just a point off league-leaders RB Leipzig.
As for the Herbstmeister (autumn champions), Leipzig entertain Union Berlin in an
east German clash of some intrigue at the Red Bull Arena in Saturday’s late kick-off
(kick-off: 18:30 ).
Julian Nagelsmann’s men are eight games unbeaten in the league (W7, D1) and
have been jet-propelled towards a first Bundesliga title in their short history by Timo
The Germany forward’s 18 league goals are currently only bettered by Robert
Lewandowski’s 19 strikes and Union will have to be at their best against a side they lost 4-0 to in Matchday 1’s reverse fixture.
As for Saturday’s remaining matches (all kick-offs: 15.30 CET), Borussia Dortmund travel to Augsburg, Cologne visit Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt go to Hoffenheim, Freiburg to Mainz, and Werder Bremen travel to Fortuna Düsseldorf in a tie that could shape the relegation places at the end of the season.
Sunday’s Matchday 18 finale then sees Paderborn and Bayer Leverkusen face off
at the Benteler Arena, a game that has consequences at both ends of the table.